Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why I won't be voting for Obama this November.

I'm officially on blog hiatus, but this is too outrageous not to speak out. (Also posted on Uncommon Priors, natch.) Put briefly, as noted above, I won't be voting for Obama this November. I obviously won't be voting for McCain, so I'll be staying home.

It was bad enough when Obama gave away the moral high ground in the campaign by declining to take public funding. But the nomination of Biden for the second slot on the ticket is, to put it simply, an utterly unprincipled choice of an utterly unprincipled miserable excuse for a human being. I can't stomach the idea of casting a vote for Biden for any position whatsoever, and certainly not for the number two slot in the executive branch. Biden isn't fit to be the dogcatcher of Spread Eagle, Wisconsin, morally or intellectually.

Here's the bill of particulars.

1. The Bankruptcy "Reform" Act

For years and years, Congressional Republicans had been trying to pass a bill to seriously curtail bankruptcy rights. When he was president, Bill Clinton vetoed it -- twice, I think. During the Bush administration, the Republicans finally got it through, in 2005, over a Democratic filibuster plan. The cloture vote that was thus needed passed only with the help of several turncoat democrats, Joseph Biden among them.

I've said what I think about the bankruptcy bill before (please ignore the glaring misplaced comma in paragraph 8: it was an editorial error, it should be after, not before, the word "risk"). Everything I said in that op-ed still holds, as I noted in an "I told you so" blog post a few years on. (Here's another helpful breakdown, from someone else.)

Biden was one of the leaders in support of this horrible, horrible bill -- this piece of class warfare in reverse. But it gets worse. MBNA bought members of Congress like crazy for this bill -- my favorite case is that of Representative Jim "The Shameless Bribe-Taker" Moran (D-VA -- representing places like Alexandria and Arlington), who switched from opposing to supporting an earlier version of the bill after MBNA gave him a huge, unsecured, personal loan to get him out of massive hot water, a loan for which he was in no way qualified.

But what does that have to do with Biden, you might ask? Well, there's a miasma of corruption in Biden's case too. Guess who has a lobbyist son who was a paid consultant for MBNA at the time of the vote? Yep. Biden.

What might someone say in Biden's defense? Perhaps the bankruptcy bill at least closed some corporate bankruptcy loopholes? Nope. In fact, a Republican tried to tighten some corporate bankruptcy loopholes, making the bill slightly less grotesquely aimed at lower-middle-class individuals. Guess who killed those amendments? Yep. Biden.

For his disgraceful, corrupt, malicious behavior in the bankruptcy bill mess alone, Biden ought to be driven out of politics in infamy, not rewarded with a seat in the White House.

2. Iraq

Biden initially supported the war, and did a lot of the scut work to pave the way for it to happen. (Details here.) He also voted to continue funding the war, more recently.

More recently, now that everyone in the world knows the war is a disastrous failure, Biden's spoken out strongly against the Bush administration plan to continue it. What's his solution? Ethnic and religious partition. What? Is he going for Bosnia south? The Iraqis don't like it any better than the sane Americans.

3. Plagiarism and Deception

How about Biden's personal morals and judgment? Perhaps they're better than his political morals and judgment?

Nope. I can't describe the plagiarism mess any better than Jack Schafer did, in Slate. I won't even try. Suffice it to say that he blatantly plagiarized work in law school, then turned around and did it again in politics -- and in a bizarre way, too, ripping off personal details from a British politician that didn't even apply to him! Joseph Biden actually gave speeches reciting (plagiarized) details of his personal background and history that weren't even true -- of Biden, though they were true of the guy who originally wrote the speech.

I mean, what the fuck? That's doesn't just demonstrate dishonesty, it also demonstrates rank stupidity. How on earth do you think you're not going to get caught stealing someone else's background, when you're a national politician? I think it also demonstrates a touch of insanity. I mean, isn't that just a really disturbed thing to do? Rip off someone else's life? And it's not the worst of it. While we're in the appalling lies about personal history department, Biden made inconsistent statements and downright misled those who heard his speeches about his alleged (nonexistent) civil rights activism in the 60's.

That article also reports that Biden apparently got shitty grades in college and law school, incidentally. Not surprisingly, he lied about his academic record, too. Among other lies, while berating a heckler, he falsely claimed that he graduated in the top half of his law school class, etc. etc.

Three strikes should be enough, but one more seals the deal:

4. "Articulate".

Do I even need to say anything about that?

This whole thing is really sad for me. I was looking forward to voting for Obama -- for a candidate who at least represents the center (if not the left, at least better than the right like most of that lot) of the Democratic party, who is unquestionably intelligent and accomplished (pretty much the polar opposite of Bush in every way), a man who might actually seek out and listen to competent advice and make informed decisions about national policy. Not to mention being able to vote for America's first black president. But I simply cannot vote for a ticket containing that wretched creature from Delaware, or for anyone unprincipled enough to choose him as a running mate.